A retired Navy officer whose $100,000 uninsured yacht was destroyed by fire says those onboard were left to fend for themselves as flames engulfed the vessel, with other boats sailing past without offering to help.
Graham Marr, 64, was out on a cruise along the Port River with family friends when the 36-foot yacht caught fire in the Barker Inlet near the St Kilda channel just north of Adelaide.
The coastguard received a distress call about lunchtime that a yacht was on fire and the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) sent its patrol boat Gallantry to tackle the blaze.
“Timber caught alight in the engine room and a young lady onboard, a little girl, she noticed it and rushed in and gave us warning that there was smoke,” Mr Marr said.
“We shut the engines down, went straight to anchor, got everybody off.
“There was nothing we could do, we set off all the fire extinguishers we had on board.”
Mr Marr said all seven people who were on the yacht evacuated onto a tinny and then waited for the coast guard to pull them ashore.
“There was nothing further we could do except wait for the water police to arrive with the fire boat,” he said.
Emergency services earlier said other vessels had gone to the group’s aid, but Mr Marr said they received no assistance.
“Interestingly, a large number of boats went past us, saw smoke coming out and kept going,” he said.
“It was my pride and joy. I’m retired, and that [boat] was my outlook on life.
“It’s down to the water line, it’s a shipping hazard now. It’s just a big weight in the ocean.”
The ambulance service said no one was injured during the emergency.
Those rescued were taken back to shore, to the Garden Island Yacht Club.
Marine authorities put a control boom around what was left of the yacht in an effort to prevent any oil spill reaching a dolphin sanctuary and mangroves in the area.